Bush officials: Good job Obama but...
May 3rd, 2011
02:13 PM ET
4 years ago

Bush officials: Good job Obama but...

Washington (CNN) – Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld applauded the successful mission to kill Osama bin Laden under the Obama administration, but also highlighted the pivotal role their team played in the search for America's most wanted terrorist.

"It was also important that President Bush put in place counterterrorism strategies and policies, efforts that the military and intelligence have been making over the years," Rice told CNN's "American Morning" on Tuesday. "To work together better to achieve that kind of level of integration didn't happen yesterday. This is something that has been happening for quite a long time."

Rice said that the discovery of bin Laden's whereabouts was made possible by intelligence gathered during the Bush administration, pointing to how the roundup of al Qaeda field generals such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in 2003 and Abu Faraj al Libi in 2005, helped provide the link to bin Laden's courier, who ultimately lead C.I.A operatives to the compound where bin Laden was staying.

"We all have to realize that war on terror, the fight against terrorists, is a tough fight, and the key is information," Rice said. "Now let's remember that in the early days, we knew very little about how al Qaeda operated and the roundup of their field generals like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed let us not just to learn that there was a courier, I remember when they learned there was a courier who might be a link to Osama bin Laden, but we also learned from those people about the structure of al Qaeda unfolding plot lines."

In a CNN interview on Tuesday, Rumsfeld recalled when the Bush administration was criticized for keeping seemingly low-level prisoners, who were drivers, chauffeurs, couriers, or bodyguards at Guantanamo Bay and defended Bush-era interrogation methods on detainees, such as waterboarding, saying such techniques were ultimately "enormously valuable" for intelligence gathering.

"It is those people that know the habits and locations of the senior people. It is a good thing that the people were held and that there were interrogations," Rumsfeld said. "That information was patched together over a period of time."

In Rumsfeld's opinion, the new reality following bin Laden's death does not necessarily change the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.

"I think Osama bin Laden will be replaced by a successor. If we capture and kill them, that individual will be replaced. The people are determined. They are vicious. They are capable of raising money and recruiting people and training them to go out and kill innocent men, women, and children," Rumsfeld said.

Another member of the Bush administration, Retired Gen. Colin Powell, who served as secretary of state under Bush, told CNN on Monday that Obama handled the situation brilliantly.

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soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. kd

    what a load of bunk. The Bushies gave up before their second term. Their focus was on Iraq and changing governments in the middle east. Bush said as much himself.

    For these former Bushies to now want credit when they not only dropped the ball but never bothered thinking about or looking for the ball in the first place is just further proof of what a disaster that whole gang was.

    May 3, 2011 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  2. Al-NY,NY

    Hey Rummy, if you had not given up trying to find him...instead of focusing on your bosses vengeful incursion into Iraq for no reason, you'd get more credit.

    May 3, 2011 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  3. Sam

    For a change I do agree with Rumsfeld. Only one Bin Laden is dead and lord knows how many are out there!

    May 3, 2011 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  4. djf

    Nice try Condi. But it is widely known that Bush dropped the ball on bringing bin Laden to justice. Bush said himself that catching bin Laden was not a priority for him. I'm tired of Republicans trying to give Bush credit for Obama's accomplishment. And how can this be an occasion for Rumsfield to start talking about enhanced interrogations again. We did not get the intelligence needed to kill bin Laden through torture. These people infuriate me and make me sick.

    May 3, 2011 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  5. Dan

    The neocons are trying to rewrite history again. Remember TORO BORO when Bush cried "STAND DOWN" when OBL was in his sights – of course this is before Bush invaded Iraq – so if he took out OBL then, he wouldn't have had a reason to invade Iraq. Wasihngton Post April 17, 2002

    May 3, 2011 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  6. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    If I cared any less what these two thought or didn't think I'd be comatose.
    Let's re-wind the tape to The Shrub's mutterings on national television in 2003 quite arrogant and flippantly 'reassuring' us that he didn't know where bin Laden was, didn't care where he was, stutter, stutter, errr,ummm, and didn't think bin Laden was importatnt enough a personage for him (The Shrub) to care.
    Ta Da. Next!
    "But not the final step … I think short term, there's more danger. Long term, there's a lot more safety. And who knows what short term means."
    I can't believe I am actually agreeing with noun,verb, 911 Giuliani, but I am. It was very gracious of him to give credit to President Obama.The New Yorker inhim must have eclipsed the RethugliKKKlan.

    May 3, 2011 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  7. Arun

    What a bunch of idiots. They have to find something dipshit (Bush) did right and promote it. Why don't they talk about all the failures their administration had!!!

    May 3, 2011 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    So much of what Rummy and Ricey said above glosses over or directly contradicts what Bush administration officials and even the CIA said and did during Bush's presidency that it's sickening CNN would even bother to report it without doing the research first so the disingenuousness of their commentary today can be understood. Bush closed Alec Station in 2005 (the CIA's bin Laden unit). At the time, they said all kinds of crap about not being concerned about bin Laden's location or involvement specifically and theorized about Al Qaeda not being a heirarchical structure and bin Lden not being the head of the snake, etc. Now we get Rummy claiming that a "successor" will replace bin Laden...well, you don't conceptualize it that way if it's not a heirarchical organization. And Ricey just yammers about KSM giving up the courier's name without admitting that it didn't happen under torture and had nothing to do with the waterboarding, purposefully leaving it open-ended so the idiots out there who support torture can fill in the blanks.

    May 3, 2011 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  9. The Other Dale

    You know, we still haven't heard anythng to suggest that waterboarding got us these results. For all we know the information was given to us freely or through documentation found. But if it makes some conservatives able to sleep at night after torturing the innocent as well as the guilty at Gitmo, that's the way it goes.

    May 3, 2011 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  10. Haren

    Yes you got all information from Gitmo detainees but than president Bush put all that information in drawer and stated that Laden is marginalized and he is no threat to America and I don't care where he is, and I would not loose my sleep on him.
    So please don't take any credit for killing Osama Laden.

    May 3, 2011 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  11. Soren

    Yeah! – Right!!

    May 3, 2011 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  12. Dean

    As usual, Rumsfeld is correct on all counts.

    May 3, 2011 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    Waa! Good soldiers are loyal to their Commanders, particularly their immediate superiors.

    I have always marveled at Condaleeza Rice's hair styling. The latest version is a major improvement over the severely conservative style she wore as Secretary of State. She's gotten rid of that unusual bun on her neck, and let it fill out off the sides of her head. That old style looked painful. It ain't hard to tell. She smiles now.

    May 3, 2011 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  14. Scott in Atlanta

    Also, lets not forget to thank the Wright brothers for inventing airplanes, Alexander Graham Bell for inventing telephones, Ford and Chrysler for inventing automobiles, etc... because without all of this stuff, none of this would have been possible...(Sarcasm)

    Now everybody wants to take credit... Laughable if it wasn't so sad... Rice, Rumsfield, Cheney, and Bush were the Hawks that brought all this terrorist mess on us in the first place... Back when they were supporting Bin Laden and the Mujjahadin against Russia... Or when they were supporting Saddam Hussein against Iran...

    Beware of the mililtary industrial complex...

    May 3, 2011 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  15. Doug

    I think the President is well aware of that Mr. Rumsfeld? I think most Americans are smart enough to "Figure that one too!! Why do Gop has beens,and wanna be,s,"Think that Americans are little children that need advice from the Principle?????? We,ve heard your teachings "Before" Thank You?

    May 3, 2011 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  16. Jim Billy

    How typical of these neo-cons to try to take credit for something to which they made negligible contributions. Now how about apologizing for Iraq, Katrina and this country's economic implosion.

    I won't hold my breath.

    May 3, 2011 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  17. Realistic

    Once again a bunch of has beens trying to credit for something they failed in. If it was true what they were saying than how come Bin Laden was not killed during the Bush Admin? The answer is simple, President Obama dedicated a team to hunt down Bin Laden as the Bush admin dedicated a team to take down Saddam. The Bush admin pushed aside Bin Laden for Saddam and thats why they failed to get Bin Laden. President Obama dedicated in getting and killing Bin Laden, all credit goes to president Obama and his team no matter how much the right wants to re-write history and facts. President Obama and his team is the one that got Bin laden..Good try righties but rejected by common sense. President Obam once again showed leadership that was missing during the Bushs 8 years.

    May 3, 2011 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  18. diridi

    where did you guys go despite counter-terrorism strategies put in place, when torabora raided, Bin Laden escaped. Don't you guys know that these stupid strategies never work, and did not work. Instead of crediting Obama, you say Bush.....What did you guys do for the nation, absolutely nothing...I mean "Nothing". Bush gave billions of dollars to Pakistan for nothing, absolutely nothing...it is tax payers money...didn't you know. What an idiots in the nation...shame on these idiots... You know Pakistan is a rogue nation, they are the ones who are making double talks, you believe Pakistan? What a nonsense you idiots are talking and telling to public......

    May 3, 2011 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  19. didier foi

    Ahhh... the duplicity continues. When attempts to place blame on the Bush years for anything negative, it's "Don't blame Bush, he's been out of office for 3 years." But when it comes to something positive, its "Bush gets credit." Either Bush is responsible for everything emanating from his years in the Whitehouse, or he is responsible for none of it. Which is it?

    May 3, 2011 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  20. Ya See Everyone . . .

    Bush helped get Bin Ladin
    Bush is not responsible for our economy

    The right wing Republican dogma at work.

    May 3, 2011 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  21. Russ

    It is freakin' amazing that people like this can't admit that Obama succeeded where Bush failed. Bush had all but abandoned any chance of ever finding Obama and had literally cancelled all concerted efforts to do so with the exception of torturing detainees. That may have helped but Bush had little to do with anything substantial in this latest mission. Obama picked up the ball and scored and now the Republicans want the credit. What a self serving bunch of losers.

    May 3, 2011 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  22. nobama

    Why the snarky headline? They have to make these comments becuaue no one in the media is mentioning these exact points. Obama should be commended for the success of this mission, but this started years ago and Obama has kept much of the same practices that the Bush team put into place. I know most people will not like to admit that, but it is the truth.

    May 3, 2011 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  23. ja

    obama has been doing a good job, despite roadblocks set not by taliban or a foreign entity, but by american gop, at any cost determination to sabotage every effort by this administration, well God works in mysterious ways, it took a man name obama to stop a man name osama

    May 3, 2011 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  24. Haren

    In March 2002, Bush famously said in regard to bin Laden, "I don't know where he is.. I don't spend much time worrying about it." Bush let Afghanistan linger on the back burner, letting al Qaeda and the Taliban re-establish in that country. Out of sight, out of mind ...
    So why this bush team is takung credit for bush.

    May 3, 2011 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  25. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    The only thing that Bush put in place was the willingness of the WORLD to work AGAINST us because they hated our arrogant guts. Look what a 'great' relationship he had with Pakistan, to whom he'd given/funneled BILLIONS of dollars over the past 10 years. Those mofos KNEW where bin Laden was and kept it from us (good call Hillary). Obama proceeded to do what he said he would do in 2007 TO THE TEE. Just like The Srhub proceeded to do what he said he would do: not pursue bin Laden.

    May 3, 2011 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
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